Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bluebird Nestbox Check

I checked on my bluebirds and found that I still only have 2 nestlings. The other eggs are probably underneath them and are assumed to be infertile. They were feathered out quite a bit more than the last time I looked at them.

If I had to guess I would say they are atleast 11 days old by comparing my pictures with those of this age on a bluebird website. Since I'm unable to check them on a regular basis it's hard for me to keep nest records for age accuracy. This may be the last time I'll be able to open the box because they're getting close to the age (12-13 days old) where they could prematurely fledge if I disturb them. Don't want that to happen.

My neighbor's box had what looked like three nestling, possibly four. It was hard to tell the way they were all jumbled up. As they get older it should be easier to count them. I also got some good video of the adults and will put it in a future post.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Downy Woodpecker Nest Site

Though rough weather was headed our way I still decided to take a trip to Sabine Woods to try and photograph a pair of Downy woodpeckers at their nest hole that was brought to my attention by some fellow birders. Besides with spring migration going on this is actually the best time to be in this area due to fallout possibilities. When I arrived the sky was threatening, but only allowing a light drizzle to fall, so I donned my rain jacket, put on some mosquito repellent and headed in. The downy pair were not returning as often to the nest to feed the nestlings as they were a few days ago. This is possibly due to the difference in weather whereas the other day was sunny and mild. This prolonged return was making it very difficult to capture a photograph. I would've had to hold my camera focused and ready on the hole to get one. Also during my last visit the nestlings were totally quiet- not a peep. Today their chirping was incessant. I was there for two hours and not once did they stop. Seems this could be detrimental to the nest in that it could attract predators. Over these two hours, as I said, I didn't get a photo, but what I did get just by luck was a short video on my digital camera of the female near the nest hole right after she had fed the nestlings. To my surprise it came out pretty darn good.

Note: If you watch closely and listen you'll notice something. Before she flies away she taps the tree twice. Does this have any significance? Was this a way of telling the youngsters she was leaving? The next time I'm there I'll have to pay more attention to see if this behavior occurs again. If anyone out there reading this has any ideas or have seen this before please let me know.

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